April 23, 2014 Comic Reviews

Well, it seems I need a new wireless adapater (already). Either that, or find a way to string up my house with ethernet cables. So, my apologies (sigh... again) for these being late. I'll get the rest of the covers in later, as well, as it seems some publishers' websites don't like to play well with older browsers.

Ghosted no. 9 by Joshua Williamson, Davide Gianfelice and Mirosbu Mrva | Image | $2.99

I’ve come away from this issue with mixed feelings. Although I found it somewhat enjoyable, and was actually shocked for what I believe was the first time this arc, Williamson’s writing came off as weak and less nuanced than before. Though I’ve stated this throughout the second arc, the problem seems to only compound itself issue-on-issue, and it’s made me reconsider jumping into the writer’s new book Nailbiter.

Really, all the same problems continue, both in regard to the writing and the art, which blends clever panels and layouts with rushed proofs that look to have never been revisited. Mrva’s colors help hide some of this, but not enough.

I think I’ll drop this series when this arc ends, though I’m tempted to do it now, as the current storyline is nigh forgettable.

Hobby Hole score: 5.8/Forgettable
Previous issue's score: 7.6/Alright

Justice League United no. 0 by Jeff Lemire, Mick McKone and Marcelo Maiolo | DC | $3.99

Why is this number 0? If you decided to skip this, believing it an origin tale or something akin to the unnecessary (though by far the best issue of the series to date) Harley Quinn no. 0, you made a bit of a mistake. Even the title page bills this as the first part of the arc.

Of course, it also really helps to have read Justice League of America, as this builds directly upon that series (less so Animal Man) with very little page space dedicated to the new characters. Especially awkward was the introduction of Mii, which might as well have occurred in a universe all its own and had the most ham-fisted dialogue this issue, which, compared to the amusing exchange between Animal Man and Green Arrow, almost seems like it was handled by another writer.

Maiolo extends the palette he’s near perfected on Green Arrow to this title, though it doesn’t work as effectively with McKone’s odd layouts and perspectives as it does with Andrea Sorrentino’s. McKone’s work could use some polish, particularly within the combat sections, though I’m certain he’ll grow into it.

Hobby Hole score: 7.8/Alright

Manhattan Projects no. 20 by Jonathan Hickman, Nick Pitarra and Jordie Bellaire | Image | $3.50

Considering the oddities Manhattan Projects has thrown at readers, when I say this is a weird issue, it’s really something.

This was a slow-paced, exposition-heavy romp through parallel dimensions, and while that concept can prove extremely memorable, here it wasn’t terribly exciting. The writing just seemed to lack that… specific edge Hickman has infused every issue with up to this point. And, for an issue titled “Einstein the Barbarian,” it’s a major disappointment.

The art may not have helped, as the purveyance of medium and long shots in the flashbacks separated us more from the action than I would have liked. However, Pitarra’s reimagining of the series’ characters were fun and charming, though perhaps not as amazing as those seen within the “Oppenheimer Civil War” issues. Plus, I’m fairly certain Bellaire goofed in one panel, giving Einstein what appeared to be a distorted, half-shaved head covered in scars. This will likely get fixed in the trade, but I stared at it for some time wondering what had occurred off-panel to inflict such damage on the character.

Hobby Hole score: 7.6/Alright
Previous issue's score: 9.4/Fantastic

Uber no. 11 by Kieron Gillen, Caanan White and Digikore Studios | Avatar | $3.99

Well, that was surprising.

But, after stewing on it a bit, the part that truly stuck with me was not the two monumental deaths (though those are huge game-changers), but rather the equally important character reveal, as not only does that change the story going forward, but retroactively distorts the story from the very beginning. I’m seriously tempted to re-read the series to this point if I find the time somewhere soon.

What bothered me this issue, and Avatar confirmed were supposed to be corrected prior to production, were two typos, one of which was in the very first panel of the very first page. Stumbling over these took me immediately out of the experience, and while one could be forgiven, the second occurred in the midst of the biggest action scene this issue. It was very unfortunate, as White’s near-flawless pencils kept be more engrossed than they’ve ever managed.

Hobby Hole score: 8.0/Great
Previous issue's score: 6.9/Meh

Zero no. 7 by Ales Kot, Matt Taylor and Jordie Bellaire | Image | $2.99

Holy. Shit.

That… wow. I didn’t see that coming. I thought everything changed going forward just a few issues ago, but here we are again, with Kot proving you never know what to truly expect out of this series. And there I was thinking this was a pretty quiet, tame issue, especially given how little dialogue exists on the pages here, allowing Taylor’s wide, almost repetitive panels to tell the story. Which was simply brilliant.

Anyone else get a bit of a “What did he see?” thing going on here? Though I believe the answer is almost obvious (again, I don’t want to come to expect anything here), I’m more curious to find the answer here than I ever was in regard to Marvel’s “next big thing.”

Hobby Hole score: 8.9/Great
Previous issue's score: 5.9/Forgettable